Detective Cameron Short was called to investigate a crime scene; a double-murder just off the highway, by the lake. After drawing a few observations, he concluded that one of the victims, Judy Glenn, killed the other, Ronald Smith, but a third party killed her before she could leave the scene. Not needing a search warrant to investigate Glenn’s apartment, Short enters her apartment to find a duffel bag of money spilling out over the apartment.
With so much money in play, Cameron Short suspects drug trafficking and calls in the narcotics division to assist. Short then leaves to see how the first Smith’s family reacts to the news.
Pin for Later!
Cameron relaxed as much as he could in his car, but the sunlight was uncomfortably warm. An open window did little, as there was hardly a breeze wafting down the street. It was quiet, peaceful. Had the schools been closed, Cameron imagined the neighbourhood kids would be playing on the road.
The detective glanced subtly towards the Smith’s family home. He knew that the family was home, having seen the father return from work shortly after five. Cameron didn’t have much hope of seeing a reaction. If drug trafficking was involved, it seemed something Smith would keep hidden from his family. A police car arrived shortly after this thought and Cameron put all his focus on the home.
The patrol car stopped, the officer from the crime scene got out and made his way to the door. The stillness was so profound that Short could hear his shoes on the stone pathway, despite being a ways off from the house.
The officer knocked, the door opened. Cameron prepared himself for the usual reactions. Surprise, concern, a confused look as they tried to figure out how to react. The woman of the house invited the officer inside from her gesture, he refused. The man appeared and they started asking questions.
The officer informed them of their son’s death.
The woman retreated, the father’s face was expressionless. Cameron watched the officer explain the situation to the father, who nodded now and then, saying very little. Short was already writing the family off as being involved in the case when he saw a light turn on in the parent’s bedroom.
The curtain wasn’t completely closed, giving Short a clear view of the wife who put a suitcase on the bed and started packing. Her face was not painted in grief but fear. She was worried about something. Short wasn’t about to draw any conclusions from this. He waited until the officer returned to his car and turned on his police radio. A moment later, he was talking with Jefferson.
“I’ve just finished talking to the Smith family,” Jefferson began. “Nothing unusual.”
“I’d like to make sure, I will give you directions, keep a block or two away while I tail them,” Short told him.
The patrol car drove away and it wasn’t five minutes before Smith’s parents were backing out of their driveway. Cameron Short kept his distance, only starting the car when they turned off the street. He knew how to follow without arousing suspicion, but once more, he was afraid it might be a pointless pursuit.
The family, for all he knew, were off to visit their other son, or perhaps friends of the family. The two could have easily been seeking comfort in the arms of family or friends. Yet, Cameron wasn’t sure, so he drove on after them into the night.
The city was a blur as it passed by, the drive taking close to an hour before Short decided to hold back. It wasn’t because he felt it was pointless, but because the family drove out of the city. It would be very easy for them to spot a tail on those open, empty roads.
Once enough distance had been put between them, Short drove after.
“It’s going to be a long night, settle in,” Short told Jefferson over the radio.
Short felt bad for Jefferson, who had been up almost twenty-four hours. He expected Jefferson to voice this fact, but he only confirmed and turned down the same road eventually.
Another hour passed and the Smith family turned down a dirt road. Short would have followed but seen that the dirt road led towards a silhouette of a building not too far away. The house looked beaten down, on the edge of falling over. It seemed impossible that anyone was living there.
“A betrayal, two deaths, a bag of money, suspects are most likely involved in narcotics...this is turning into a busy day,” Short muttered.
The detective soon realised that the house would make for an ideal meeting place. He stopped himself from parking on the side of the road, opting to park out of sight under a cluster of trees. He told Jefferson over the radio what was happening and that the officer should keep driving to the next gas station and wait there.
Jefferson, once more, complied.
Short climbed out of his car and began trudging towards the house, sticking to the shadows and making sure he was as quiet as possible. What he needed to do was spot the Smith family and keep them in sight at all times. It didn’t take long, as he soon heard them arguing. The closer he got, the louder it became, until he could see them standing next to their car, screaming at each other.
“...because of you!” the man shouted. “Don’t you feel anything?”
“We knew this would happen from the start, Trevor,” the woman snapped back. “Now, it’s happened on our terms.”
“Our terms? Our terms? If this was on ‘our terms’, Ronnie would be standing here with us.”
“You know what he did...what he was planning to do. Do you think he cared about us? We were a stepping stone for him and that girl. It’s good they dealt with it, or I might have.”
“You’re not like that, Jen. Don’t try to pretend-”
A third voice interrupted, but Cameron could not spot the source. It was a male voice, smooth and calm.
“You can save it, this operation is blown,” the man said coolly. “It seems Ronnie took all our profits, then the Glenn girl and now the cops have. Soon the feds will get involved and you two will be watched closely.”
“You...did you kill him?” Trevor asked, anger building quickly with each word.
“No, it was the girl,” the voice replied with a sniff. “She saved me the trouble of doing it myself. Still, I couldn’t let her get away either and dealt with her as well.”
“What about the money? Why didn’t you get the money?” Jen asked.
“I tried, believe me, I did, but I only managed to get one bag from Ronnie’s place, which only had four-hundred thousand. The Glenn girl took several million for herself...probably would have stolen it all after...oh, it doesn’t matter.”
“Four hundred is still a lot of money, so where is our cut?”
“Here it is.”
Two flashes and Short saw Jen fall. Trevor tried to run, but he was cut down just as quickly.
“These deals never go well,” Short muttered, taking the small revolver from his pocket.
He marched towards the car, a trace of fear in his heart. He saw the back of the figure.”
“Police!” Short shouted, which sent the man running. “They never let me finish either.”
The man was fast, much faster than the detective. He vanished amongst the trees, his dark clothes making it easy for him to lose Short. After running for a few minutes, his eyes darting amongst the trees, expecting an ambush, Short heard the sound of a car engine starting.
The detective ran towards it, too late to see a plate number. It was a common four-door, green and not much else.
With an angry grunt, Short jogged back to the crime scene. He only started this case that morning, but if he didn’t move fast, the trail would go cold.